Criminal: Crimes – Wanton Murder, Failure to strike juror, Judicial Notice — Ondra Leon Clay v. Com. of Kentucky (SC 12/18/2008)

Ondra Leon Clay v. Com. of Kentucky (261)
Criminal:  Crimes – Wanton Murder, Failure to strike juror, Judicial Notice
Questions Presented:
Wanton Murder and First Degree Sodomy. Life Without Parole for Twenty-Five Years. Batson Challenge. Failure to strike Juror for Cause. Testimony of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. Judicial notice of law regarding discovery of underlying test data. 
Opinion by Noble
Fayette – Judge Pam Goodwine
Date Rendered: 12/18/2008

Memorandum opinion of the court; all sitting; all concur. Appellant challenged his conviction for wanton murder and sodomy– for which he was sentenced to life imprisonment. On appeal, Clay alleged a Batson violation, claiming the prosecution struck a juror solely because of her race. The Court affirmed, citing the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Snyder v. Louisiana, which held an appellant could not compare stricken juror's responses to voir dire questions side-by-side with those of white jurors after failing to do so at trial. (“A retrospective comparison of juror based on the cold appellate record may be very misleading when alleged similarities were not raised at trial.”) The Supreme Court found the trial court had committed error when it took judicial notice of the fact that the Appellant’s expert could have had access to the raw data used by the Commonwealth’s DNA experts. The Court held that the defendant’s access to raw data was not an “adjudicative fact” subject to judicial notice under KRE 201, and noted that there is some question whether defendants actually have a right to such access. However, the Court held that this mistake did not rise to the level of palpable error. The Court also held that the trial court did not commit error by failing to strike a juror who was a former employee of the Fayette County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office for cause. Lastly, the Court held it was not palpable error to admit the testimony of the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner where Appellant failed to object or otherwise request a Daubert hearing. 

Digest from SC Case Monthly Summary Report
for December

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